Photo Credit: Liron Moldovan / Flash 90
Education Minister Yoav Kisch and Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi visit Israeli children at their classroom on the first day of school since the October 7th massacre, in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, March 3, 2024.

After five months of war and heartbreak, about 60 percent of the children from Sderot returned Sunday morning to their regular classrooms.

At least 200 soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces are securing their city and their return.


Education Minister Yoav Kisch and Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi visited the children in their classrooms on this first day of school since the October 7th massacre.

So many of the children are now orphans. So many of their mothers are widows. Some of their fathers are widowers too.

Hamas terrorists seized control over the Sderot Police Station on October 7, slaughtering some 30 police officers and civilians there.

The terrorists entered the town under cover of a barrage of rocket fire from Gaza, and engaged in firefights with local police units and civilians. Many civilians were murdered on the street and in their homes.

The invaders overpowered the garrison at the Sderot police station and occupied it, slaughtering everyone who was there.

Following the arrival of IDF reinforcements, Israeli forces surrounded the police station and regained control over the building, killing at least 10 Hamas terrorists during the battle. Gunfire and bulldozers were used to demolish the Sderot police station and kill any terrorists who remained inside.

Many did not want to return home — but at this point, there is nowhere else to go, some residents told Israel’s Channel 12 News. “We said we would give it a chance,” one mother tells the news outlet. But her 12-year-old daughter doesn’t buy it.

“If they succeeded the first time, then why won’t they succeed the second time?” she asks her mother.

From Oct. 7, 2023 to Feb. 28, 2024, the National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi) recognized 19,407 children as physically or mentally injured, according to data published on Sunday by the Child Safety Council. About 37 percent of those designation (7,257 children) are under the age of six. Those figures do not include the number and percentage of the total population suffering the effects of trauma.

Although the border is once again closed, the threat of rocket fire is far from over: the Red Alert incoming rocket siren wailed throughout the city at 6:30 am this Saturday, sending residents of the city once again racing for cover.

People living along the Gaza border — as with those in Sderot, less than a mile from the enclave — are being offered monetary incentive by the Israeli government to return now, before the summer. The earlier the return, the larger the compensation payment.

Will it work? Time will tell.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.